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Akkadian Society. Introduction. The Akkadian Empire(2340-2200B.C.E.) It was located on the western bank of the Euphrates, in present- day Iraq. We will now delve into its history, culture, and advancements. Important Individuals.

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  • The Akkadian Empire(2340-2200B.C.E.)
  • It was located on the western bank of the Euphrates, in present- day Iraq.
  • We will now delve into its history, culture, and advancements.
important individuals
Important Individuals
  • Sargon of Akkad (2270-2215 BCE) helped establish the Akkadian Empire.
  • He led the Akkadian Empire to its greatest extent.
  • Sargon conquered lands for his empire and his blood reign went on for generations.
important individuals cont
Important Individuals (cont.)
  • Sargon’s blood reign went on for a few generations.
  • Sargon was by far the most famous and successful ruler, however.
  • Later rulers such as Manishtushu Rimish maintained Sargon’s rule.
  • Eventually however, the Akkadian Empire shrunk and collapsed due to Armani attacks.
social institutions
Social Institutions
  • Agriculture was the economic backbone of Akkad.
  • Like most ancient societies, Akkad utilized irrigation and rainfall for crops
  • Family was very important to Akkad
  • Adultery was punishable by death for woman
  • Akkadian government was known as classical standard.
  • The ensi was the main leader.
  • The ensi, a preist- like figure, had to marry the goddess Inana, solidifying his position.
government cont
Government cont.
  • The kings in Akkad were at first below the ensi in power.
  • However, later in history, the king became the prominent ruler.
  • As we said, agriculture was vital in Akkad.
  • Due to very little rainfall, irrigation was key to successful farming.
  • Akkad had a surplus of cattle and crops
  • However, it lacked other commodities like metals and timber.
major conflicts
Major Conflicts
  • Sargon of Akkad led many major conquests to expand his empire.
  • He attacked and conquered Uruk.
  • He also conquered King Kashtubila of Kazalla.
  • Sargon’s were all for not, however.
  • Later leaders slowly lost the land until Akkad’s eventual collapse.
  • The population of pre-modern states was dependent upon the agricultural system of the region.
  • Two principals: irrigated farmlands or rain-fed agriculture
  • This writing was developed and used in the middle east among:
  • Sumerians
  • Babylonians
  • Elamites
  • Hurrians
  • Kassites
  • Littites
Legal codes written in cuneiform scripts.
  • Semitic language- Hebrew and Arabic
  • empire was bound together by roads, along which there was a regular postal service
  • Clay seals took the place of stamps

example of Akkadian cuneiform

  • They followed the “Code of Hammurabi”
  • The Code of Hammurabi was carved into a black diorite stone.
  • Akkadian artists discovered “lost wax”
collapse of the akkadian empire
Collapse of the Akkadian Empire
  • Within 100 years the Empire of Akkad collapsed, almost as fast as it had developed, bringing in a Dark Age
  • The empire collapsed entire from the invasion of barbarians of the Zagros known as “Gutians”
  • said to be associated with rapidly increasing dryness, and failing rainfall in the region of the Ancient Near East,
individuals in history sargon of akkad
Individuals in History : Sargon of Akkad
  • King of ancient Mesopotamia during 2334 BCE to 2279 BCE
  • known for his extremely long reigning period
  • Formed the first Jewish dynasty in the region
  • Founder of Mesopotamian military traditions
  • Trade thrived under his rule
how sargon formed his kingdom
How Sargon Formed His Kingdom

When the King of Uruk was defeated Sargon took his place to rule over the lands that he had collected

Sargon had to defeat every city that tried to break free from his rule

He succeeded which formed the kingdom of Akkad

trade under sargon s rule
Trade under Sargon’s Rule

Traded with the Indus Valley, islands in the Persian Gulf, and Oman

Imported things such as lapis lazuli (semi-precious stone), cedar wood, and silver

language art and military under sargon s rule
Language, Art, and Military Under Sargon’s Rule
  • When Sargon was king military traditions such as spearman formations and shield walls were established
  • People began to use the language that the Sumerians had previously used
  • Started a new form of calligraphy which they put on clay tablets with beautiful scenes of mythology and festive life
cooperation and conflict
Cooperation and Conflict

Majority of conflicts were with Sumer

Especially empire migration to the north

2125 BCE: Ur revolted causing Akkad to fall as Sumer rose to power again

Barbarian invasion of the Zagros also known as “Gutians” caused empire to collapse

  • Dramatic advances
  • One major king
    • Sargon
  • First Poet
    • Enheduanna

Historians are not exactly sure where it is

They think it’s on the West bank of Euphrates

Between Sippar and Kish

In present day Iraq



Social Classes

  • Ensis and Lugals
  • Provincial Ensis
  • Regular priests
  • Nobels (Lugal’s trusted workers)
  • Peasants (farmers, tradesmen, fishers)
  • Slaves
akkadian art
Akkadian Art

Egyptian style art

Has been found in Turkey



First statue made of lead

Spoke their own Akkadian language


Discovered “lost wax” (bronze casting)

  • Sumerian art was excellent during the Akkadian empire
  • Enheduanna – first poet to actually record things
    • Wife of Nanna – Sumerian moon god
    • Daughter of Sargon
  • Empire was bound together by roads
    • Included a postal service
  • Clay seals
    • Sargon and son’s names
  • Cadadstral survey
      • Wrritten ownership of land
  • “Limmu” calendar system
    • Year =big event
  • Empire was bound together by roads first collection of astronomical observations was made for a library established by Sargon


  • Set a standard for all Sumerian City-States
  • Ensi
    • Highest priest
    • Married to “Inanna”, goddess of love, fertility, and war
    • “Divine power” which was initially highest power
  • Lugal
    • Literally “Great man”
    • Equivalent to king
    • Was initially 2nd in power to an “Ensi”, but became 1st but later dynastic times

Sargon and Naram-Sin Governing Strategy

  • Purpose = spread and maintain control of land
  • Made daughters (Enheduanna and Enmenanna) high priestesses of moon goddess
  • Married daughters off to other peripheral rulers
  • Made sons provincial “Ensis”, equivalent to Governors


  • Greatly dependent on agriculture
  • Changed from year to year depending on rainfall and crop yield
  • Harvest was late spring and summer
  • Had form of unemployment relief
    • Government recruited farmers from August to September to maintain Nile flooding and annual irrigation
  • Imports were metals, timber, and building stone
  • Polytheistic religion
  • Worshipped gods and goddesses of or like those of the Sumerians
  • No seperation of religion and state, priests lead civilization
scribal school
Scribal School
  • Divided into 2 sections: Beginning and Advanced
  • Students began at young age (5-7)
  • Mostly male students, but there is evidence of some female students
  • Education generally only available to the wealthy and elite
  • Wrote in Cuneiform on clay tablets with a reed stylus
cultural development
Cultural Development
  • Location
    • Arabian Peninsula
      • Present day = Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, and Kuwait
  • Buildings
    • Large temples (ziggurats) and monuments
      • Tower of Babylon
    • Walls – poorly constructed – made of clay
    • Shaped like domes
cultural development cont
Cultural Development Cont.
  • Food
    • Hunted fish, duck, and geese
    • Ate dates, bread, onions, beans, cucumbers, garlic
    • Wash it down with beer or water
  • Writing
    • Cuneiform – shaped symbols
    • Reed stylus
    • Invented by Sumerians in 2500 BCE
cultural development cont38
Cultural Development Cont.
  • Art
    • Resembled early Egyptian art
    • Found in modern Turkey
    • Cylinder Seals – examples of gem cutter’s art
  • Poetry
    • Priestess Enhedumanna
cultural development cont39
Cultural Development Cont.
  • Achievements
    • Roads – postal service
    • Clay seals – stamps
    • Astronomy
    • Library
    • Limmu calendar system
      • Years were named after one specific event
rise of democratic ideas
Rise of Democratic Ideas

Overpowered the Sumerian states

King Sargon I of Akkad conquered military and political centers of the south

Mesopotamia united into one empire

rise of democratic ideas41
Rise of Democratic Ideas

Akkad became the political, economic, and cultural center of the empire

Emperors gave themselves the title “Kings of the Four Lands of the World”

rise of democratic ideas42
Rise of Democratic Ideas
  • Government
    • Ensi = highest functionary of Sumerian city-states
      • To become an ensi you have to marry the goddess Inanna
      • Validated the rulership through divine consent
individuals and history
Individuals and History
  • Sargon means “kind of universal domination”
    • Started monarchy
    • Ended power struggles
    • Wasn’t raised royal (cupbearer of Ur)
      • Came to power by overthrowing the king and then took the throne
individuals and history44
Individuals and History
  • Sargon united the people into first empire….Akkadians
  • Successful conqueror
    • Successful battles – new tactics – looser form – javelins and arrows
  • Stationed troops
individuals and history45
Individuals and History
  • Sargon gained land
    • Formed better relationships with neighboring tribes
  • Sargon gained better goods and ideas
    • Religion, gods, new use of writing
  • He was in control for 56 years but it ended when the empire went in revolt
technology and history
Technology and History

“Lost wax” – method of bronze cast

Postal service

Clay seals


Two languages (Assyrian and babylonian)


Depended mainly on agriculture

Nomadic groups (early Ammorites)

Nomadic groups were allowed to let their sheep graze on Akkadian’s farms, in exchange for payment to temples


Always had a surplus of food

Imported metals, timber, and building materials because limited resources

cooperation and conflict49
Cooperation and Conflict

Akkadians were violent people in general

Started empire based off of the relentless conquering of Sargon

Never at peace because people they conquered never agreed with their rules

impact of ideas
Impact of Ideas
  • Sargon’s conquests spread Akkadian’s ideas, culture, and writing system
  • Empires can encourage trade and bring peace to people
    • People of cultures share ideas, technology, and customs
  • Adopted Sumerian culture and ideas
    • Polytheistic - many gods: An, En – lil, E- ki
social institutions51
Social Institutions
  • Priests were mediators between people and gods
    • Had decreased status
  • Men and women were created by the gods to serve the gods
    • To feed and clothe them, to honor and obey them
  • Didn't have a code of ethics or morality 
  • Scribal education
continuity and change
Continuity and Change

Akkadians were Semitic people and their descendents that survive today as Jews and Arabs

epic of gilgamesh
Epic of Gilgamesh

First ever epic

Gathered by the Akkadians and written on 12 stone tablets

Tells the story of King Gilgamesh, who was 2/3 god and 1/3 human, and his adventures

fun facts
Fun Facts!!!

Akkad is also known as Accad or Agade

Left bank of the Euphrates river

Height of its power between the 24 – 22 century BCE

Gifted warriors of their time

  • "Akkadians." Wikipedia. 10 Oct. 2008. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/akkadians#economy>."Ancient Akkadians." History Guide. 3 May 2006. <http://www.historyguide.org/ancient/lecture4b.html>.Marcus, David. A Manual of Akkadian. New York: Universal P, 1994.Unknown. "Akkadians." 15 Dec. 2003. 3 Nov. 2008 <http://history-world.org/akkadians.htm>.
  • Pictures:
    • <www.google.com>
works cited
Works Cited
  • "Akkadian Empire." South and Southwest Asia. Ed. Peter N. Peregrine and Melvin Ember. Vol. 8. New York, NY: Springer, 2003. 21-23.
  • "The Akkadian Empire." Wikipedia. 4 Nov. 2008. Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. 7 Nov. 2008 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/akkad>.
  • <http://i-cias.com/e.o/sargon.htm>.
works cited continued
Works Cited (continued)
  • "Akkadian School Texts." Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative. 7 Sept. 2008. UCLA. 16 Nov. 2008 <http://cdli.ucla.edu/wiki/doku.php/akkadian_school_texts>.
  • Guisepi, Robert A., and F. Roy Williams. "Akkad and the Akkadians." History-world. History World International. 7 Nov. 2008 <http://history-world.org/akkadians.htm>.
works cited continued58
Works Cited (continued)
  • Hooker, Richard. "The Akkadians." Mesopotamia. 6 June 1999. Washington State University. 7 Nov. 2008 <http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/meso/akkad.htm>.
  • Karr, Dr. Karen. "Akkadians." Histroy for Kids. 5 Oct. 2007. Portland State University. 7 Nov. 2008 <http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/westasia/history/akkadians.htm>.
  • www.wikipedia.org
  • www.angelfire.com/nt/Gilgamesh/akkadian.html
  • www.historyforkids.org/learn/westasia/history/akkadians.htm
  • www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Akkadian_Empire
  • history-world.org/sargon_the_great.htm
  • history-world.org/akkadians.htm